The Stansbury football team has been plagued by slow starts all season long, forcing the Stallions to come from behind in each of their three Region 11 victories.
There would be no such issue on Friday night at Stallion Stadium, as Stansbury had two touchdowns and a safety before the game was even six minutes old. The Stallions led 38-0 at halftime en route to a 64-13 homecoming win over Ben Lomond that clinched a home playoff game and set up a showdown with Bonneville on Thursday night for the region championship.
“We just wanted to come out and play four quarters of football and start the game the way we’ve been finishing,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said. “I felt like the kids did that. We had some mental mistakes here and there, but overall, we played pretty good.”
Stansbury (5-3, 4-0 Region 11) rushed for 415 yards on Friday night, led by Silas Young’s 172 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Mitch Lindsay ran for 86 yards and two scores, and Bridger Roberts had 73 yards and three TDs on just four attempts.
“We’re finally starting to find our groove,” Lindsay said. “We give it to Silas, and if they start crashing on Silas, we’ve got me and we’ve got another running back right there.”
As dominant as the Stansbury offense was, the defense may have been even better. Ben Lomond (0-8, 0-4) managed just 54 yards of total offense, and had minus-22 yards of offense in the first half. The Scots didn’t run a play on Stansbury’s side of midfield until the fourth quarter. They didn’t get on the board until there were under four minutes left in the contest, and added another TD on a 99-yard kickoff return with just over a minute remaining.
Ben Lomond quarterback Darrion Herrera was just 4-for-15 for 14 yards and threw two interceptions. He was sacked four times, including once for a safety by Alix Vaefaga-Taukeiaho. Stansbury racked up 16 tackles-for-loss in the contest, led by defensive linemen Dallon Brooks and Calvin “Jebus” Mead, who each had three.
“We’ve been looking to play four quarters all season,” Brooks said. “The other games, we’ve been balling out in the second half, but this game, we played all four quarters.”
Stansbury took a 7-0 lead with 8:35 left in the first quarter on Young’s 4-yard TD run. After limiting Ben Lomond to minus-12 yards on the Scots’ next possession, the Stallions got the ball back on the BLHS 30-yard line and Young scored on the next play to make it 14-0.
The Scots fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and recovered on their own 8-yard line, and back-to-back sacks by Mead and Vaefaga-Taukeiaho led to a safety and a 16-0 Stansbury lead.
Later in the quarter, a botched fake punt attempt by Ben Lomond gave Stansbury the ball on the Scots’ 30-yard line again. Seven plays later, Jet Richins scored from 3 yards out to stretch the lead to 23-0.
Even when Ben Lomond did win the field position battle, they had no answer for the Stansbury offense. They pinned the Stallions back at their own 12-yard line with 1:30 left in the first half, only to see Young rip off an 88-yard touchdown run on the next play to put Stansbury up 30-0. An interception on the Scots’ next play set up Lindsay’s 25-yard scoring run with 54 seconds left, and Vaefaga-Taukeiaho scored on the two-point conversion to make it 38-0.
“(Lindsay) did a great job,” Christiansen said. “He read the triple-option the best he ever has this whole year. He was spot-on. A couple times tonight, I lost who had the ball, and if I start losing it, I know we’re firing the way we’re supposed to be.”
The onslaught continued after halftime. Lindsay scored from 43 yards out on the first play of the third quarter, and Roberts scored on a 9-yard run and a 4-yard run to stretch the lead to 57-0 by the start of the fourth. Herrera broke up the Stallions’ shutout with an 11-yard touchdown run with 3:55 left.
Roberts scored on a 60-yard run with 1:24 remaining, and Espinoza’s kickoff return for a score proved to be the last play, as the entire second half was played with a running clock because of the 35-point mercy rule.